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Anesthesiology/Epidural Complications

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Hello,
I had my baby 1 week ago. It was a repeat c-section. My first pregnancy resulted in an emergency c-section because my daughter got stuck on my tailbone. With my first pregnancy I got an epidural but it never worked on my left side. Could be because I had mild scoliosis growing up. With my second c-section I informed the anesthesiologist that the epidural didn't work on the left side. He felt confident that he could numb me completely. When they did the epidural my blood pressure dropped and I got really sick and almost passed out. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot and I felt better immediately. The epidural worked this time, I was numb. I had the c-section this past Sunday, they left the epidural in Monday (a walking epidural), then Tuesday morning the anesthesiologist removed it. Wednesday just as we were being discharged from the hospital I got a burning sensation in my head. It has been a week now and the feeling hasn't gotten any better. If feels like a burning, tingly feeling in my head, and I feel sort of dizzy, foggy headed, and like I have vertigo. Last night when I went to sleep the burning sensation spread from my head down my neck and arms. It went away from my neck and arms later today, but I still have the feeling in my head. I have gone to my gynecologist and she had no explanation as to what could cause these strange feeling in my head. She thought that maybe it could be an atypical spinal headache from the epidural. She referred me to an internal doctor to get other testing done. There they did an  EKG and complete blood panel. The EKG came back normal, and my blood tests came back good except my potassium was kind of low and I am borderline anemic (could be due to the surgery). The feeling is worse sometimes more than others but there doesn't seem to be any correlation to this feeling and the position I am in.  Could this feeling be due to the epidural? Will these feelings go away on their own, or is there a way to get rid of them? I feel like I am going crazy. It is very difficult to focus with these feelings in my head and I am a mother to a one week old and a 2 1/2 year old, and I am a teacher. Please help me!

Thank you

Answer
This does not sound like a spinal headache nor does it sound like it is related to the epidural. If it were a spinal headache, you would expect worse pain on sitting and some relief by laying or drinking caffeinated drinks. If it were an epidrual problem, you would expect issues below the level of the epidural and it doesn't sound like an infection because you have no fever, etc. Clearly there is a problem and I would think the person to see is a Neurologist. Perhaps this problem has been around a while but only got "activated" after the delivery. You probably need a CAT scan and perhaps an EMG but a neurologist would best determine that.

Ronald Levy, MD
Professor of Anesthesiology
UTMB-Galveston

Anesthesiology

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Ronald Levy, M.D.

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Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. I am a board certified anesthesiologist who can answer all questions related to any type of Anesthesia with the exception of Pain Management.

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